A study carried out by the University of Essex has revealed that women who continue to work during their eighth month of pregnancy tend to have babies weighing in an average of 230g less – making working at this stage of pregnancy as harmful as smoking.
The research indicated that pregnant women who were still working whilst in their eighth month of pregnancy gave birth to babies that were around 230g lighter than women who went on maternity leave between the six to eight month point.
But what is the reason behind the lower birth weight?
Experts found that for expectant mothers who worked throughout pregnancy, their baby developed at a slower pace in the womb.
Previous research has shown that babies with a low birth weight could be more at risk of developing certain health issues at a later stage – which is just one reason as to why mothers-to-be should think twice about staying in work for the vast majority of their pregnancy.
Some women however, simply can’t afford to be off work for too long, with statutory maternity pay not covering all of the necessary costs, especially with the expense of a new baby soon to come.
According to one of the study authors, Professor Marco Francesconi, the government should be considering offering further incentives to employers who are more flexible when it comes to maternity leave. For example offering more time to women who may require a break before, as opposed to after, their babies arrive.
If you are pregnant and are reluctant to take your maternity leave before the birth for whatever reason, you should consider trying to strike more of a balance between your career and life.
If you have always been a workaholic and you are concerned about how the office will cope without you whilst you are on leave, or if you simply can’t afford to take a couple of months out then a life coach may be able to offer you sound advice, guidance and support.
A life coach could help you to establish more of a balance between your working life and your home life, and they may also be able to provide you with some financial coaching.
To find out more about how work/life balance coaching and financial coaching could be of benefit to you, please visit our fact-sheets for further information.
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